Chef Ricardo Queiroz flies the South African flag high in Nantucket
After graduating with merit from Capsicum Culinary Studio last year, the 22-year old South African is living in Nantucket, Massachusetts, in the US and is working at the Club Car Restaurant - one of the best eateries on the island.
Queiroz grew up in Edenvale, Johannesburg where he attended Edenglen High School. With working parents, the young Queiroz would often take over duties in the kitchen preparing dinner for the family.
"This is where my love for cooking began as I would help my mother out on days where she would come home really tired and I would cook for the family,'' he says. “The more I cooked the more I wanted to try new things and cook new dishes that I had never tried before."
After leaving high school, Queiroz decided to enroll at Capsicum and further his knowledge about food and the culinary industry with hopes of pursuing a career in it.
"I enrolled at the Capsicum Rosebank campus and studied for a Diploma in Cooking and Food Preparation, graduating with merit last year," he says. "The course was really awesome and I made a lot of friends who were also interested in food just as much as I was”
During his time at Capsicum he had loads of great opportunities to cook at fun events such as the Korean Food and Film Festival and the Robertsons Spice pop up kitchen in Melrose Arch as well as working with some celebrity chefs. The young graduate went on to do his industry placement at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Sandton, working at action stations, interacting with guests - both local and international -and also working the hot line in the sauté and grill positions.
After his industry placement Queiroz signed up with Workaway International for their summer programme and was offered a six month position at Aberdeen Golf & Country Club in Boynton Beach in Florida in the US.
"After my contract expired I applied for a job at the Club Car Restaurant in Nantucket and was lucky enough to get it”. It is one of the best restaurants on the island with executive chef Mayumi Hattori who is well known in the industry and has worked with many famous chefs such as Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette.
Queiroz continues: "It has been another great experience so far. I'm cooking the best food I have to date in my short career and I am continuing to learn as much as I can”. Working at the restaurant as a hot line cook and manning the plancha (ie. griddle) and sauté stations is by no means easy work and Queiroz regularly works 11-hour shifts - from 12 noon through to 11pm - six days a week.
"It's hard work but it is so worth it," he says. "But everyday I feel like I've accomplished something good."